Our latest Industry Insider sees us sit down with Jason Goméz, a freelance visual creator who has worked with the likes of ESPN and Bayern Munich!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hi! I’m Jason Goméz – a visual creator from New York who has worked in sports/entertainment media for nearly 10 years.
Currently, I float across various creative roles with folks including Bayern Munich, Just Women’s Sports, and TikTok. I previously worked as a Multimedia Editor for ESPN and a Senior Producer for Bleacher Report’s Tactical + Innovation teams.
What do you do in your current role?
Depends on the ask! Some days I’m a graphic designer, others a motion designer. Sometimes I’m illustrating, others I’m animating or working in 3D. It really can be anything and anywhere from branding, hype packages, and building templates, to art direction or project management.
“Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you?
An ‘average’ week in my case is a bit like being Moon Knight – sans the dissociative identity disorder… and cool capers. It’s a balancing act between my creative personas and responsibilities – so an ‘average’ week will generally include some project planning, research, sketching, design, and improving my skills. There’s usually time to get a bit of everything in if I manage my time properly.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
To be fair I was never sure if I wanted to work in sport. Coming out of college I was obsessed with soccer (football, sorry) and thought it would be fun to try and be a writer. I started with CBS Sports Stats Insight and then with World Soccer Talk where I got to interview David Villa and Claudio Reyna among others. That led to a gig with ESPN FC where I got to work closely with all the on-air talent and got a proper digital production bootcamp. I also learned how to play basement cricket, which is very underrated. *Shoutout to my fellow B3 Basement dwellers.* After 2.5 years with Mickey Mouse’s sports company, I decided I needed a change. So naturally, that led me to the SAAS tech sector haha! A year in there really showed me that I had strayed far from what I know I love to do – create. I grew up drawing all the time, and when I started working that stopped. I went freelance for a couple of years and dove headfirst into being an ‘artist’ again. After learning to design and getting back in touch with my creative roots I wound up at Bleacher Report for a bit before diving back into freelance. I suppose the short answer is ‘by accident.’ I focused on things I enjoy and kept experimentation at the center of what I do. And it led me here!
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
Style and substance. For me, they go hand in hand.
Can you tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?
I would consider my first stint in freelance a failure – the whole 2 years of it. I was arrogant in my skillset yet had nothing to show for it. I had no real portfolio – no way of proving that I was capable of doing what I knew I could do. My approach was wrong. I was unfocused, undisciplined and so eager to prove myself that I skipped out on the basics. I wasn’t creating to create. I wasn’t learning, I wasn’t leaning on my support system and I constantly made things difficult for myself. I learned that you can’t do anything alone, and overthinking will lead to nothing getting done.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I’m most excited about the industry becoming more creative as a whole. Sports illustration or design wasn’t really a feasible career for a long time.
If you could change one thing about your industry, what would you change?
I would make it more diverse & inclusive.
Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?
Manga, cat videos, drawing, and watching youtube tutorials.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
You will undoubtedly work for and with people who you don’t see eye to eye with, who maybe shouldn’t be in the position they are, or who make things more difficult for you (maybe due to bureaucracy or plain lack of empathy). Don’t let the job, the people, or the industry deter you from doing what YOU want to do. If you have an idea or a goal – you need to surround yourself with the people who inspire you, support you, and push you to make it happen. But at the end of the day, you need to sustain that drive yourself. Do it for you. Build it and they will come.
How to connect with Jason Gomez..
Hm.. I guess my Instagram/Twitter? @JayGohh for both.
This project is one, in particular, I’d like to plug: Footy Tarot 2022. It’s an in-progress project that combines football and tarot, and, upon completion, I’ll be having decks printed/sold with proceeds going to refugee programs via UNICEF.
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Jason Goméz! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.